The average human being has a limited amount of patience. At the end of a long workday that included dealing with clients and co-workers on a number of issues, the last thing most people want to do is spend too much time in the car on the drive home. We all want to just get home and start relaxing in the workday is over. Speeding seems like a good way to get home faster, until a police officer busts you for speeding and gives you a ticket.
Radar detectors were designed to help alert drivers to the presence of law enforcement radar guns and speed cameras along the road. Cobra is well known by those who have owned radar detectors in the past. As technology advances, is Cobra keeping pace? This review looks at the features, pros, and cons of the Cobra SSR 80. At the conclusion, we offer an honest assessment of the value of this radar detector.
Features of the Cobra SSR 80
The Cobra SSR 80 is an affordable, entry-level radar detector that has proven itself useful for everyday driving conditions. The UltraBright data display makes reading alerts easy and tone alerts make sure you can keep your eyes on the road while driving, so you can maintain your focus rather than read visual texts all the time. As with all Cobra models, the SSR 80 features a sleek and stylish design that is more compact than the average competing model.
Cobra’s SSR 80 features full-band detection and is capable of identifying all radar and laser signals used by law enforcement in both the United States and Canada. This model promises efficient early detection, but it is the LaserEye feature that provides the Cobra a notable feature. LaserEye is capable of detecting signals in a 360-degree sweep around the vehicle. This means that signals emanating both in front of and behind your vehicle are picked up.
Additional features include City/Highway modes, VG-2/Spectre detection, Auto Mute, safety alerts, and signal strength meter. Drivers have the option of switching between City and Highway modes that help enhance the effectiveness of the Cobra. Areas with dense populations contain numerous devices that can interfere with your detector and cause false alerts. Switch to City mode for a more focused approach to detecting signals, and opt for Highway mode in wide-open spaces to increase the effective range of the device.
Safety alerts make it easy for drivers to identify safety hazards and emergency vehicles in the area, and separate those alerts from law enforcement radars and speed cameras. Last but not least, the signal strength meter provides a visual cue regarding the range of the radar or laser signal detected.
Pros of the Cobra SSR 80
The biggest pro of the Cobra SSR 80 is the combination of price and performance. While the Cobra SSR 80 is discontinued, you’ll find the device on sites such as eBay for really cheap prices, usually below $50. This makes it one of the most affordable devices available. At an average retail price of $69.95, this model is one of the most affordable devices available. Unlike other models, affordable prices don’t mean poor performance. The SSR 80 consistently performs to expectations by alerting drivers to radar and laser signals with enough time to slow down and avoid any citations.
Cobra’s LaserEye function also earns high marks among consumers. It promises to identify signals coming from in front of and behind drivers. According to the vast majority of users, Cobra’s LaserEye lives up to the promise.
Cons of the Cobra SSR 80
While the SSR 80 is a promising device, there are more than a few consumers that have identified varying issues with the devices. First and foremost, the City/Highway modes don’t appear to be effective. The device is constantly “chatting” when drivers are in areas of dense population. It is hard to criticize a device for providing too many alerts. On the one hand, it shows the device is capable of detecting signals. On the other hand, drivers tire of constant alerts quickly and tend to turn the device off. At this point, the device is useless.
However, these are often issues related to the detection of unused bands that are frequently used for other reasons these days. Bands such as X aren’t that popular among the cops nowadays and are only used in some areas where the cops haven’t changed their systems yet. Users do report fewer false alarms after the K and X band alerts are turned off.
Now, while you can change the settings, Cobra, for some reason, doesn’t include what you’d expect a pamphlet to contain. Instead of detailed instructions, you’ll only get some basic set-up information. So changing the band settings can be a hassle. That said, numerous resources are available online to help you get it done.
Also because of the newer cars on the road today, you may have to contend with a fair bit of false alarms as certain new vehicles transmit specific types of radio waves that the SSR 80 detects as police detectors.
What’s more, certain glitches may be faced from time to time that you may need to deal with by restarting the device. As you might guess, this can be especially annoying if you are driving and need the SSR 80 to run.
While the affordable price is listed above in the pros because the SSR 80 operates effectively, it is also a source of an item on the con list. Far too many consumers have found fault with the device, labeling it “cheap.” Some have reported issues with the housing and mounting hardware, noting that it often fails to maintain its connection to the windshield. Additionally, some have gone through two or three devices before giving up and buying a competing brand.
The final con is a tough one to hang on the SSR 80, but we believe it is worth noting. Although this Cobra model provides incredible performance for its pricing point, alerts often leave drivers with little time to react. The average driver reports receiving alerts roughly ½ mile before visual contact with law enforcement is made. The fact of the matter is that many won’t react in time in that distance. We consider this a con largely because there are other devices, even from Cobra, that offer the same affordable price and better performance.
Honest Assessment of the Cobra SSR 80
At the end of the day, there are better options out there than the Cobra SSR 80. There is no need for every driver to spend hundreds of dollars on a device that provides radar and laser alerts miles in advance, but even the average driver deserves a detector that performs at a high level. The Cobra does well for itself given its low price, but the truth is that there are better models available for the same amount of money. There are even better entry-level models from Cobra.
However, considering the cheaper price you can get on a used Cobra SSR 80, you’ll almost certainly recoup your investment by preventing a few tickers here and there. Sure, while it may not be perfect, it certainly beats having no detector at all and just eyeballing it!